In August, Nate Diaz returned from a long break to defeat former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis by decision in a welterweight fight in the co-main event of UC 241. After that victory, Diaz called his shot.
“The reason I was off,” Diaz told UFC commentator Joe Rogan, “was because everybody sucks. There was nobody to fight. But with this belt, I want to defend it against Jorge Masvidal (who) had a good last fight, a good last fight. All respect to my man, but there ain’t no gangsters in this game anymore, there ain’t nobody that does it right but me and him. So I know my man’s a gangster, but he ain’t no west coast gangster.”
The one thing about that, was Diaz didn’t have a title to defend. He cleared things up at the post-fight press conference.
“This is the fight game,” Diaz said. “Quit acting like this is a professional sport. (Take) whatever they want to give me? No, I’m going to take what’s mine. That’s what I’m talking about, the baddest mother(expletive) title. I need that belt made as soon as possible.”
The UFC took Diaz’s idea and ran with it. On Saturday, in the main event of UFC 244, which takes place at Madison Square Garden in NYC, Diaz and Masvidal will fight for an actual, physical BMF title belt that the UFC is having made just for this fight.
This is an amazing turn of events, considering UFC president Dana White said that Diaz did not move the needle during a 2014 interview.
Diaz is 3-1 in his past four fights. One of those victories was a 2016 submission win over Conor McGregor. In the rematch, McGregor earned a five-round majority decision.
Diaz has been with the WEC/UFC since the early days of his career. Masvidal took a different route to the top. Masvidal fought for numerous organizations before joining the UFC in 2013. During his run with the promotion, he struggled to find consistency. He gained a reputation as a fighter who would get close to elite level before dropping split decisions and then sliding back. That changed in 2019 when he scored back-to-back bonus-winning knockouts of Darren Till and Ben Askren. Today, Masvidal is one of the hottest fighters on the UFC roster and a solid candidate for “Comeback Fighter of the Year” or even “Fighter of the Year.”
UFC 244 takes place Saturday at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The pay-per-view card airs on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
As UFC 244 approaches, take some time to watch UFC 244 Countdown: Masvidal vs. Diaz.
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